Have you noticed lately that you have been feeling down? Do you feel that it is harder to concentrate? Is it harder to find joy in things that you once loved? Are you feeling tired and lacking energy? These are some of the subtle signs that you may be feeling depressed. However, you are not alone. Depression affects more than 19 million Americans every year.
The occasional feeling of gloominess or unhappiness is common in healthy people from time to time. It is a normal response to everyday saddening situations. However, these episodes are usually short-lasting as the people learn to adjust to what has been experienced.
Symptoms of depression can occur in response to a loss (e.g death of a spouse), life changes (e.g retirement), failures, or serious illness. After adjustment to these situations, these feelings usually subside in older adults, but sometimes it may not, and depression develops.
DEPRESSION, WHAT IS IT?
Depression is a common problem among older adults, but it is NOT a normal part of aging.
It is a common but serious mood disorder that is characterized by feelings of sadness, despair, and pessimism. There is a loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities. It is a real illness that needs treatment. It causes severe symptoms that affect functioning including sleeping, eating, working, and socializing.
SOME THINGS THAT MAY CAUSE YOU TO FEEL DEPRESSED…
- Health conditions or physical illness
- Loneliness and isolation
- Reduced sense of purpose
- Fears, Increasing awareness of approaching death
- Death of a loved one (bereavement)
- Major life changes
- Social Distancing
SOCIAL DISTANCING DOES NOT MEAN ISOLATION. Human beings are naturally social creatures.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing can make people feel isolated and lonely. Research has shown that social isolation and loneliness are linked to a higher risk of a variety of medical conditions including depression.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION INCLUDE:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day (feel sad, empty, or hopeless)
- Diminished interest/pleasures in all or most activities
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Slowing down of thought and physical movements
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive/inappropriate guilt
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Suicidal ideation or recurrent thoughts of death
IF YOU FEEL DEPRESSED
- Reach out to a representative here at Little House. We would be glad to help guide you and assist you.
- Join one of our many events to keep active and involved!
- Connect with others on our community Facebook page and Instagram!
- Seek medical help if your symptoms are interfering with your normal daily life.
If you are thinking about harming yourself, tell someone who can help immediately.
- Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help, or ask a friend or family member to help you.
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889).
- Lifeline is free and confidential
- Resources for Older Adults During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Institute on Aging’s 24-hour toll-free Friendship Line is the only accredited crisis line in the country for people aged 60 years and older, and adults living with disabilities. We also make on-going outreach calls to lonely older adults.
- Toll Free- 800-971-0016
- Senior Intervention Hotline for Crisis Support Services | IOA Friendship Line
- Stress Relief Guide
- Guided imagery for destressing
- Self-help tips for Depression in Older Adults
- Ways to ease isolation while practicing social distancing
- ADAA reviewed mental health apps on smart phone/mobile device
Robinson, L. (2019, October). Depression in Older Adults – HelpGuide.org. HelpGuide. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-in-older-adults.htm
Depression and Older Adults. (2017, May 1). National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/depression-and-older-adults